A new digital collection in the Ball State UniversityDigital Media Repository showcases selections from the life and work of Mary Beeman, a pioneer in the field of home economics and the former head of the Ball State Teachers College Department of Home Economics from 1929-1951.
Ms. Mary Beeman, often described as the ‘grande dame of home economics’, lived from 1884-1984. Throughout her life she was recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the profession of home economics. During her time at Ball State Teachers College, Ms. Beeman was responsible for an expansion of the Department of Home Economics. She was instrumental in securing federal funding for the department’s programs, initiated the dietetics program in 1937 which continues to this day, and began an adult education evening class program available to members of the Muncie community.
Included within the collection are selections from Ms. Beeman’s correspondence while serving as department head, photographs of Ms. Beeman at work, and memoriams and obituaries recounting her life. The collection also includes over 180 of her compiled recipe cards which provide unique takes on many classic staples of Midwestern cooking.
I was intrigued enough to try my hand at her apple crisp recipe. The recipe card provides two versions of the classic dessert: one with the regular flour based crumble topping, and the other using graham cracker crumbs as the basis of the topping. Well, I love graham crackers; so the alternative recipe sounded too good to pass up. I photographed the final product and am happy to say the recipe yielded the best apple crisp I’ve ever made. I look forward to cooking more from her incredible recipe collection in the future.